Update on 6/19/17
The guts of this post start below the updates, but wanted to give you an actionable resume template you can get started on right now. If you want to know why I love it, read below. Otherwise, skip to the meat and get going on the Google Doc in this update!
Don’t have Pages? Don’t want to use LaTeX? Here’s the Google Doc version of my perfect resume. Copy it off and get to work!
Update on 5/27/17
Here’s a quick video I made that talks about how this resume came about, what are the elements that I like about it, and how you should think about the process of writing your resume.
Update on 4/3/17
Hey all, I wanted to provide a more accessible template for those of you who didn’t want to work in LaTeX. It’s a Pages doc that I helped craft with a friend who was on the hunt several years ago. It landed this friend a job that paid him a 30% premium on his previous salary. Now recruiters are reaching out to my friend again after 1.7 years and after sending the resume offer, this friend requests another 30% premium, which the recruiters say seems standard.
Don’t get me wrong, my friend is awesome.
But, we’ve worked on this resume a LOT.
Here’s why I like it
1. Simple formatting
Notice how the name is the biggest and the other formatting is really simple. The location is there so people understand your commute or if you’re seeking remote work.
There’s a LinkedIn link so they can prove you’re real (note, if you’re uncomfortable providing it — as it may give away more information about you that an employer is not allowed to legally request — it’s not required).
I’ve seen a lot of fancy formatted resumes, but you must remember, recruiters look at hundreds of these things… so the easier they can scan, the better off you are.
2. Action, Results, and Consistently Formatted
This is the thing that you will get wrong 100 times before you get it right. The details!
First, note that every bullet has an action taken. Also note that the actions taken are rank ordered from the most relevant to the position, or that you think are most impressive, to the least relevant.
After each action, there is a result. The results in this case are huge financial sums. They are impressive metrics. They show off not just what you did, but what you accomplished. The numbers can be expressed in many different ways, but I suggest you focus on the most impressive sounding metric. From $ saved, to % increase, to # of users obtained, etc. Make it sound great.
This one is near impossible. I’ve edited this sample resume for about an hour and it’s still not perfect. Notice how I always type out the city, and abbreviate the state. How the month is always spelled out completely. How emdashes are used consistently. How the role and the results are always bold. How there are no periods after any of the bullet points. This is so hard to get right, so edit the heck out of your resume.
3. It’s one page, it’s skimmable, and it’s HEAVILY edited.
If your resume is longer than one page, it’s too long. If you can’t explain why you’re the best candidate in one page, then you’ve already lost. Keep it to one page. And edit it smaller than that so the spacing can allow recruiters to easily understand how long you were at a position and tell the difference from one position to the next.
Edit your resume every few days and have at least 3 people look at it.
It’s so worth your investment if you want to get a job above your experience.
I’ll be one of your three editors :).
Rather than keep you in suspense, here is my favorite resume template. Notice it’s just an image and not a downloadable Word file? That’s because I want to chat with you and help you, for free, with your resume before you go off guns-a-blazing. But, if you must, there’s a template at the bottom.
It’s the greatest because I can easily skim it, it’s organized to only include the important pieces, the design is setup to make the things I care most about pop, and it’s heavily edited to be a single page. In 30 seconds I can understand Ned to determine if I want to chat with him.
Let’s dig into why I love this.
The header details are simple
Notice how little information there is above the experience section. Ned’s name, also his brand, is the biggest piece. The second largest element is the position he is looking for, a technical lead first and a full stack engineer second. He has a great simple sentence about the position he is looking for and the title he’s looking to land. Most importantly, there’s no bullshit that’s not useful to me.
In marketing, as in life, less is more. Say exactly what you want to say, nothing more. Your resume doesn’t need to convince someone to hire you, it just needs to get you on to the next round. To avoid obvious mismatches. You should tell your story in person.
Experience section is easy to skim and it’s organized
The section is sectioned off super nicely. It’s really clear what I’m looking at here. The job titles are bold, which I care about most. The years are really scannable so it’s easy to connect them with each job. The companies are secondary after the year and the title. The information density is light and it’s matched with my interests in order (year, title, company, accomplishments).
The bullet points and their order are so critical. I worked with Ned to make sure each bullet point spoke to what he was trying to achieve and ordered according to the most import pieces. Engineers can phone in their resume, but Ned didn’t. His most recent job even had a summary before the bullet points. This resume is designed to skim. Ned has helped me understand his experience in 30 seconds. I want to interview him for sure.
The rest is easy to digest, too
His education is structured the same way as experience section. He’s also summarized the strengths section in digestible categories so I know what he thinks he’s best at and what areas I know he’d need to learn.
How to steal it
Given Ned is an engineer, so of course he wrote this in LaTeX. Don’t fear though, you can edit the heck out of the text and get a clean PDF every time. Here’s how.